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Death penalty

Convicted Killer Of Dallas-Area Cop Set To Die Tomorrow

Apr 8, 2015
Courtesy Texas Department of Criminal Justice

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Kent Sprouse acknowledged almost immediately after he was apprehended that he fatally shot a police officer and another man outside a Dallas-area gas station convenience store.

The 42-year-old Sprouse now is facing lethal injection Thursday evening more than a decade after Ferris Police Officer Marty Steinfeldt and a store customer, Pedro Moreno, were gunned down about 20 miles south of Dallas.

Attorneys have filed no late appeals to try to block Sprouse’s punishment. The Boone County, Missouri, native would be the fifth Texas inmate executed this year. Courts turned aside earlier appeals contending Sprouse was mentally ill and should be spared from execution.

Last month, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill bringing back the firing squad as a method of execution. The state abandoned firing squads in 2004 but now, it has returned as the backup option — partly because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs, the state's default execution method.

Utah is now the only state in the U.S. that authorizes execution by firing squad.

Prosecutor In Texas Execution Case Accused Of Misconduct

Mar 19, 2015
www.clarkprosecutor.org

AUSTIN — A prosecutor who handled the case of a Texas man executed for the fire deaths of his three daughters has been formally accused of misconduct over allegations that he concealed evidence during the 1992 murder trial.

The State Bar of Texas has asked a Navarro County court to discipline John H. Jackson following questions raised by the New York-based Innocence Project and Cameron Todd Willingham’s relatives, which investigates potential wrongful convictions.

A spokeswoman for the bar said the punishments for Jackson could range from a reprimand to revoking his law license.

Jackson was the lead prosecutor against Willingham, whose case has become a flashpoint for death penalty opponents who contend that he was wrongly executed. Jackson, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, declined to comment Wednesday on the state bar’s action.

His attorney disputed the accusations.

Willingham maintained his innocence up until being executed in 2004.

Utah's GOP-controlled House of Representatives narrowly approved a proposal to bring back the state's use of firing squads for executions, but the measure faces an uncertain reception in the Senate.

The 39-34 vote Friday came as missing lawmakers were rounded up to break a deadlock. The firing squad was discontinued in 2004.

The Associated Press says leaders in the Republican-controlled Senate won't say whether they will support the measure and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, also a Republican, has not said if he will sign it.

‘Texas 7’ Fugitive To Be Executed Today

Feb 4, 2015

HUNTSVILLE — Already a three-time felon with a violent history when locked up, convicted robber Donald Newbury was serving a 99-year prison term when he joined six fellow convicts in Texas’ biggest prison break ever.

SCOTUS Rejects Plea, Texas Executes Man

Jan 29, 2015

HUNTSVILLE — A Texas man convicted of killing a 38-year-old woman nearly two decades ago, while he was on parole for a triple slaying years earlier, was executed Thursday evening.

Robert Ladd, 57, received a lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. The court also rejected an appeal in which Ladd’s attorney raised a challenge on whether the pentobarbital Texas uses in executions is potent enough to not cause unconstitutional pain and suffering.

SAN ANTONIO — The Bexar County district attorney will not pursue the death penalty against the man charged in the shooting death of a police chief last summer.

District Attorney Nicholas LaHood on Tuesday cited Joshua Manuel Lopez's mental health and lack of criminal record as reasons the penalty will not be sought if he's convicted.

Investigators say Elmendorf Police Chief Michael Pimentel was shot twice while making a traffic stop in August to serve a misdemeanor warrant for graffiti. They identify the 25-year-old Lopez as the shooter.

The execution of three inmates has been put on hold, as the Supreme Court intervenes in a case that involves the controversy over the drugs states use to put people to death. The justices cited the sedative midazolam, which has been used in three executions that did not go smoothly.

The Supreme Court's stay is likely to hold until April, when it will hear arguments from three inmates who say that Oklahoma's execution protocol violates the U.S. Constitution.

The court's order did not elaborate on the reasons or debate behind the move:

This past year, the number of inmates executed in America was the lowest in two decades at 35, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

There was a significant drop in the number of executions and death penalty sentences in 2014, a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center finds.

The group's year-end accounting finds that:

-- States conducted 35 executions in 2014 — the lowest since 1994.

-- And the justice system sentenced 72 people to death — the lowest number in 40 years.

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